What we say and do differ when talking about traffic safety

Accident

According to the AAA Foundation, there’s a big difference between what we say and what we do when we are talking about what we believe about traffic safety.

  • While 93.5% of people surveyed said that it is not acceptable behavior to drive through a light once it’s turned red, 38.7% (one in three) admitted that they had done just that in the past 30 days.
  • 80.6% of us believe that it’s extremely dangerous and unacceptable to text while driving but at the same time almost half of us (42.3%) admit to having read a text or email while driving while almost a third of us (31.3%) admit to having sent one.
  • 83.2% say that it’s unacceptable to drive while drowsy. Meanwhile almost a third of us 31.5% of us admit to having done just that in the past month.

Younger drivers tend to be the worse offenders and tend to resist legislation to mandate safer driving.

You can read more about these and other stats about unsafe driving here.




Fall is the Time to do a Safety Check on your Vehicle

A little maintenance on your car now can make a huge difference when that first cold spell or snow storm hits. It can also save you a lot of money.

Here are some things you need to check and take care of it repairs and maintenance is needed:

  1. Check the brakes
    You should inspect your brakes at least once a year; more often if you tend to hit the brake pedal a lot and hard. Some of the warnings signs you need to pay attention to are mushy pedal feel, squeaking noises when you push on the brake pedal,  brake warning light coming on and the car pulling to one side when you apply the brakes.
  2. Check the Tires
    Worn tires aren’t going to give you the traction you need on ice or snow. Make sure that the tread on the tire is good enough by putting a penny in the groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tire. Check for uneven wear and get an alignment if necessary. Check the tire pressure regularly and get your tires rotated every 6,000 miles to save your shock absorbers.
  3. Check the Windshield Wipers
    You’ll know when your windshield wipers need to be replaced because of the streaks on your window or when an inspection shows cracks or tears. Also make sure you check your windshield fluid regularly. Use only washer fluid as water will freeze in cold weather and be useless.
  4. Check the Battery
    That first cold morning isn’t a good time to find out that your battery needs to be replaced.  Check the battery terminals, they should be clean and free of corrosion
  5. Check the Headlights
    There has been a lot of debate about when you should turn your headlights on but studies have shown that your vehicle is more visible, even during the day, when your lights are on so make it a rule to turn them on when you start the car regardless of the weather. Also make sure that your headlights are properly aimed. Incorrectly aimed headlights not only create blind spots for you, as the driver but can also blind other drivers.

All of these checks take very little time but they can save you a lot of time and money later. Regular maintenance can save you from having to pay for costly repairs down the line and also keep you and your loved ones safe throughout the winter.




No Child Left Behind

No, the title of today’s’ post has nothing to do with education. It has to do with children behind left behind in vehicles and dying of heat exposure.

Most of us respond with shock every time we hear of another child forgotten in a vehicle. “How can anyone forget their child like that?” we ask. However much we’d like to believe that only a bad parent would forget a child in a vehicle, the truth of the matter is that both fathers and mothers are equally likely to do it; wealthy and poor makes no difference either; neither does education or mental awareness or intelligence. In fact, if you think “It could never happen to me! I could never do something like that!” you’re more likely to do it because you aren’t going to take the precautions necessary to make sure it never does happen.

As temperatures rise, even a few minutes alone in a car can result in heat stress, dehydration and death for infants and small children. I won’t go over all the numbers about how hot it can get and what it does to a small child; I’ve covered that before on this blog. What I am going to do is to give you a few tips to try to help make sure that you never have to live through the nightmare of realizing you’ve killed your own child because somehow, even though it could never happen to you, it somehow did and you forgot your child in the car.

1. NEVER, EVER, leave your child alone in the car, even for a couple of minutes while you “pop” in somewhere. Don’t trust your memory. You could easily bump into someone you know and start talking, get distracted, fall, or have an accident. Even if you’re only popping into the post office to mail a package, take the child with you, always! Additionally everyone is now being told to call 911 if they see a child left alone in a vehicle. You could end up in a legal battle to keep your child and judges and juries are getting tougher all the time on this issue. It gets tried as “contributing to the delinquency of a minor” or “child neglect”. You could stand a good chance of having the state put your child in a foster home.

2. Put your purse next to the car seat instead of in the front passenger seat. You’ll look for your purse and remember the child in the back seat.

3. Keep a large doll or teddy bear in the car seat when the child isn’t in the seat and move the doll or  teddy bear  to the front passenger seat whenever the child is in the car seat. Seeing the doll or teddy bear in the passenger seat as you get to your destination will remind you the child is there.

4. Hang a tag with your child’s name on it over the rear-view mirror every time you put the child in the car seat. Make sure it’s big enough and visible enough to be hard to ignore or get used to. Only hang it there when the child is in the vehicle.

5. Make arrangements with your daycare worker or care-takers to ALWAYS call you if and when you don’t drop the child off at the usual time.

Most of these tips are simple and easy to implement but they can make the difference between a life filled with happy memories and a life filled with grief and regret.

 


How to escape a submerged car

How to Escape a Submerged Car

With recent flooding in our coverage area (Roswell, Las Vegas, Santa Rosa and others) and other states (Colorado, Texas and Florida) this has become a new concern. Any car accident is frightening, but an accident in which your vehicle is thrown into the water, with you trapped inside, is absolutely terrifying. Such accidents are particularly dangerous due to the risk of drowning and in the states, 10 percent of drowning deaths can be attributed to being submerged in a car and about 400 North Americans die from being submerged in a car every year.

However, most deaths are a result of panic, not having a plan and not understanding what is happening to the car in the water. By adopting a brace position to survive the impact, acting decisively when the car ends up in the water, and getting out fast, being trapped in a sinking vehicle is survivable, even if it’s a flooded river .A person has about a minute to get out alive

.

Here are rules of survival:

Rule 1. Don’t Call 911 until you’re out of the car. You’re going to need every second to get out of that vehicle. Worry about calling 911 once you’ve made it out alive, or, as in the case of the I-5 collapse in Washington state last year this saved lives, if your vehicle isn’t submerged. Time is critical, If you touch your cell phone you’re probably going to die.

Rule 2. Unbuckle.

Rule 3. Don’t open the door! Roll down the windows instead. Opening the door is very difficult against the water pressure and it also allows so much water into the vehicle that it will speed up the sinking process.

You’ll have 30 seconds to a minute until the water rises to the bottom of the passenger windows. This is what called the floating period. After that, the water pressure will force the window against the doorframe, making it essentially impossible to roll down.

Caveat to Rule 3: Break that window. Since most vehicles these days have electronically controlled windows, the circuits probably will short before you have a chance to roll them down. In that case, you’ll need a tool to break the window open.

Two of the most popular are the LifeHammer ($14.95), which has a hardened-steel point to help crack open the window, and the ResQMe keychain ($9.95), which uses a spring-loaded mechanism to shatter glass. If you plan on practicing with either one of these, take it from personal experience and wear work gloves. Otherwise you will cut your hands. Make sure these tools are within reach at all times, otherwise you’ll never get to them in time And they won’t work underwater. Again, you’ve got act quickly.

Rule 4. Children first. Everybody should go out their own window if possible, but the kids are going to have a harder time fighting through the rush of water, so push them out if you have to. Starting with the oldest kids and taking the youngest out in your arms.

Rule 5. Get out. Swim through the broken window as fast as possible.

If you’ve failed to get that window rolled down or broken, you’ll still have the slightest of chances to escape. Once water fills the car, the pressure will be equalized and you will be able to open the door. But to do this, you will also have to be expert at holding your breath in an extremely stressful situation. that unless you’re a modern-day Houdini, the odds are pretty slim.

Other tips:

  • Your clothing and heavy objects in your pockets can make you sink. Be mentally prepared to kick off your shoes and remove heavy outer clothing such as jackets if necessary. The less clothing you have on the easier swimming will be. Even your jeans or pants will weigh you down significantly.
  • You can also use the metal part of the head rest to break the windows.
  • Don’t bother turning your lights off. Turn them on if you are unable to escape or if the water is cloudy. The light’s electronics are usually waterproofed, and the lights themselves will help rescuers find your vehicle.
  • It can be difficult to direct other people in this situation. Be prepared and discuss the possibility before it happens. Focus on children first; adults will need to fend for themselves until the children have been helped, so don’t be distracted.
  • Keep the tools for escaping within the vehicle at all times. The emergency window breaking devices are available from safety stores.
  • If you ride regularly with people and drive by water, discuss what to do if the car goes into the water. Anticipation and planning are critical to surviving life threatening emergencies like this one. Teach all family members including children the S-C-W-O method:

S-SEAT BELT Remove seatbelt

C- CHILDREN-Free children first

W- WINDOW– Open window

O-OUT-Get out fast.

  • Under certain circumstances pressure may not equalize until the entire cabin is flooded. In this situation, either fight the current or wait until the car is fully submerged before making your escape.

Information from AAA, NSC , ABC, CBS and popular mechanics

 

 

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald, Safety and Security Manager for Plateau

keno@plateautel.com


What to do if your car catches on fire

 

What to Do If Your Car Catches Fire–Car Fires Are More Common Than You Think

Vehicle fires are one of the scariest things that can happen on the road and they happen more often than you think. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) says 33 car fires are reported every hour in the U.S., and 18 percent of all reported fires occur on a road or highway and involve a motor vehicle. Teens and young adults with driver’s licenses are most likely to be involved in car fire accidents, according to the National Fire Incident Reporting System, and young males are victims more often than females.

These statistics, while sobering, don’t mean you should worry that your vehicle is going to spontaneously combust on your drive home from work. But safe driving and regular maintenance are important to reducing your chances of being involved in one of these incidents.

Cars can catch fire for all sorts of reasons. Most of the time, it is because of accidents. If a car gets hit in its gas tank or the engine has taken a severe hit, a slight spark or electrical impulse, such as when batteries get ruptured, can cause a fire. Poorly maintained cars can catch fire too. Leaking gas lines, head gaskets, cracked blocks, cracked radiators, leaking fuel lines, and the list goes on, are all potential fire hazards. This is the reason why you change your fluids, especially oil every so many thousand miles. Doing so helps keeps your car’s seals intact a long time. Pretty much all of a car’s fluids including the car itself are flammable. Usually heat and electrical sparks plus a leaking automotive fluid (doesn’t matter which one) is all it takes for a vehicle fire to start.

Here are a few common-sense tips that can help prevent vehicle fires, provided by the National Safety Council:

While you are moving on a roadway:

1. Signal your intentions and move to the right lane.

2. Get onto the shoulder or breakdown lane.

3. Stop immediately.

4. Shut off the engine.

5. Get yourself and all other persons out of the vehicle.

6. Get far away from the vehicle and stay away from it. Keep onlookers and others away.

7. Warn oncoming traffic.

8. Notify the fire department. CALL 9 1 1

9. Dont attempt to try to put out the fire yourself. (The unseen danger is the possible ignition of fuel in the vehicles tank.)

While the vehicle is stopped in traffic or parked:

1. Shut off the engine.

2. Get far away from the vehicle.

3. Warn pedestrians and other vehicles to stay away.

4. Notify the fire department. CALL 9 1 1

5. Dont attempt to try to put out the fire yourself. (The unseen danger is the possible ignition of fuel in the vehicles tank.)

1. If you smell burning plastic or rubber, pull over safely and investigate. Don’t try to make it home before you determine what the trouble is.

2. Get in the habit of having your car tuned up and checked out at least once a year. An inspection should include examining the vehicle for gas or oil leaks. If you suspect a leak, park a newspaper under your vehicle at night and weigh it down with a heavy object; in the morning, check the paper for stains.

3. If a fuse keeps blowing, that’s a sign of electrical trouble, the same as in your house. Don’t let it keep happening without investigating, as an overloaded wire can be the source of a fire.

Dousing the Flames

Most fires, are a result of a malfunctioning fuel line or a fuel pipe splitting. If you smell something burning, shutting off the engine will stop the flow of fuel and may prevent a full-blown fire. It’s natural to panic in an emergency, but make sure you get off the road first so you’re not a hazard to other drivers, or yourself.

Experts counsel not to attempt to extinguish a raging car fire yourself, but there are circumstances when you can try if you have a fire extinguisher. If there is smoke coming from under your hood but no flames, you can crack the hood slightly and spray at the gap from a few feet away. Do not open the hood all the way as the increased oxygen could quickly turn a tiny fire into a big blaze.

However, if the fire is in the rear of the vehicle near the gas tank, you should get away quickly. Only a professional should attempt to douse fires of this sort.

What to Do in a Parking Lot

If your car catches fire while you are driving, the most important thing to do is to remain calm. Then follow these steps, which also apply if your car ignites in a parking lot.

1. Signal and move immediately to the right shoulder, or right lane.

2. Get the vehicles stopped and shut off the engine while getting yourself and all passengers out of the vehicle.

3. Get as far away from the vehicle as you can, at least 150 feet, but make sure the area you move to is safe and secure.

4. Dial 911, so the dispatcher can notify the fire department.

5. Warn onlookers and others to keep away, as well. If you have some signaling device, you can also attempt to warn oncoming traffic.

Ways to help prevent vehicle fires

While some car fires occur in collisions, they are more often caused by problems with a vehicles electrical or fuel system. Your best line of defense is to have these systems checked out at every service call. In between times, look for these potential warning signs:

· Fuses that blow repeatedly

· Spilled oil under the hood left over from an oil change

· Oil or other fluid leaks under the vehicle

· Cracked or loose wiring, or wiring with exposed metal

· Very loud sounds from the exhaust system

· Rapid changes in fuel level, oil levels, or engine temperature

· A missing cap from the oil filler

· Broken or loose hoses

FIRE SAFETY FIRST, FIRE SAFETY ALWAYS!

Information from Clovis Fire Dept, Farmers Union Insurance, AAA, National Fire Incident Reporting System and NSC

 

Today’s post comes to us courtesy of Ken Oswald Safety and Security Manager for Plateau keno